Underneath all the bad news lies even worse news
Media outlets bury the truth of scarier issues plaguing our societies and in need of our immediate attention
They do not know any better than the streets they roam and live in. They are abused, trafficked, forced into a life of drugs and prostitution; they are made to do things no child should be exposed to. Yet, they are out of our sight. During the day they are busy surviving the many challenges thrown at them and at night they find shelter under a bridge or in the shadows of a run-down building. A homeless child with a connection to a powerful tent-owner is invited in, thus feeling safe from a slew of dangers lurking outside.
In an effort to raise money for a charity that helps homeless youth in North America, I got the chance to hear first-hand accounts of some deeply scarred but hopeful survivors of the mean streets. The details they have shared about the neglect by their parents, guardians or society in general are heart-wrenching.
In an effort to raise money for a charity that helps homeless youth in North America, I got the chance to hear first-hand accounts of some deeply scarred but hopeful survivors of the mean streets.Octavia Nasr
Sleeping out in the street for one night made me realize the vulnerability and exposure any homeless child undergoes. To live your life unable to support yourself, totally dependent on adults who abuse you and take advantage of you at every opportunity is no life at all. You develop distrust for everyone and everything. This experience made me wonder what it is about our societies that make us close our eyes to such injustices.
We are not blind to people racing to malls to buy, consume, and accumulate non-essential “stuff.” Instead of truly helping the most vulnerable in our societies, we feed our own greed with the maladies of shopping and indulging the senses. Meantime, the media encourages that blasé attitude to the suffering of others.
Media outlets bombard us with fear-instilling news peppered with politics, entertainment and advertising urgently enticing the blind to go out and buy all sorts of commodities. All the while they bury the truth of scarier issues plaguing our societies and in need of our immediate attention.
Can we restore headlines to reflect real problems of our societies and move the terrorists down?Octavia Nasr
Issues such as homelessness, poverty, unemployment, rising living costs, violence against women and children, are universal topics. They are more dangerous than any fundamentalist group and should not be marginalized by the media.
Can we restore headlines to reflect real problems of our societies and move the terrorists down? People deserve an honest view of reality. Media needs to go back to the basics of serving and be representative of society instead of allowing fear-mongers and terrorists to hijack their pages and headlines; simply because in reality, on the ground, issues urgently needing our citizenry and attention are more dominant.
This article was first published in An-Nahar newspaper on Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014.
Multi-award-winning journalist Octavia Nasr served as CNN’s senior editor of Middle Eastern affairs, and is regarded as one of the pioneers of the use of social media in traditional media. She moved to CNN in 1990, but was dismissed in 2010 after tweeting her sorrow at the death of Hezbollah’s Mohammed Fadlallah. Nasr now runs her own firm, Bridges Media Consulting, whose main aim is to help companies better leverage the use of social networks.
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